Waterton Lakes National Park Important Bulletin: Caution: Aggressive and Defensive Deer in Town

Caution: Aggressive and Defensive Deer in Town

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The Waterton village provides mule deer with relative safety from predators, as well as lawns that are a rich source of forage. This has led to a dense population of urban deer, which can create reservoirs for disease, alter natural predator-prey interactions and risk public safety through increased interactions with both deer and their predators.

Female deer find the village is a particularly attractive location to give birth to fawns. Fawning season generally runs from late May to end of June, and female deer can become exceptionally protective of their young fawns at this time, especially in the presence of dogs. Deer-dog interactions can result in injuries to both deer and dogs, and potentially to dog walkers caught in the middle.

Female deer will also protect their fawns from people who are too close to their fawns. Do not approach adult deer or fawns. Stay at least 30 metres (one bus length) from deer, even when taking photos. Approaching deer adds unnecessary stress to does and fawns.

When the fawning season ends and fawns are mobile, the number of aggressive/defensive encounters drops significantly. For their health and your safety, continue to keep a 30-metre distance from deer year-round.

Parks Canada continues to proactively manage wildlife and asks visitors, residents and staff to report human-wildlife interactions. CALL 1-888-927-3367 at any time of day or night.

Please report any aggressive deer behaviour such as:

  • following you;
  • approaching you;
  • or stomping the ground.

Also report potential conflicts such as:

  • Newborn fawns;
  • People feeding, approaching or harassing deer;
  • and off-leash dogs.

We share the park with wildlife. You can protect yourself, your dog and the deer:

  • Stay at least 30 metres (three bus length) from deer, even when taking photos.
  • For your safety and for the safety of the deer, maintain a good distance from the animals while watching them, and do not entice or feed them.
  • Be particularly cautious when walking your dog. All dogs must be kept in control and on a leash. If a deer approaches, pick up small dogs if possible, keep a tight leash on larger dogs and give deer a wide berth or move out of the area.
  • Carry a walking stick with a bag. If you encounter an aggressive deer, first leave the area and call 1-888-927-3367. If the deer continues to show aggressive behaviour, wave the stick high in the air with the bag at the far end which may act as an effective deterrent.

Deer management:

Parks Canada works collaboratively with residents through the Waterton Community Wildlife Advisory Group to develop strategies on community wildlife issues.

More information is available online:

For Further Information:
[email protected]

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